LEADERSHIP LOWDOWN Dawning Public Relations Owner Kendra Riley and Beyond Payments Founding Member Anna Lam
Dawning Public Relations specializes in the development and implementation of public relations, community relations and social media campaigns for everyone from the small independent business owner to nationwide brands with storefronts from coast to coast. Services include everything from writing (be it press releases, press kits, newsletters, ad copy, and blogs) and establishing a brand presence within the community and key stakeholders to social media management and securing coverage for clients in media outlets across the globe.
With over 20 years of experience and long-standing contacts, Dawning Public Relations not only garners stellar publicity and unique marketing concepts for clients, but is also experienced in the planning and management of corporate parties, grand openings, fundraisers and events.
Kendra Riley founded Dawning Public Relations in 2013 with a focus on helping lifestyle brands elevate their exposure through comprehensive communications campaigns. She specializes in local and national public relations outreach and social media strategies and implementation.
Originally from Valparaiso, Indiana and with a degree in Media Arts from the University of Arizona, Kendra has taken her Midwest roots, Southwest education and 13+ years of experience to create a communications company that has helped businesses in every industry. Her work within the community has helped a variety of local non-profits, including Phoenix Children’s Hospital, PSA Art Awakenings, Childhelp, Scottsdale League for the Arts, Make a Wish Arizona and many more.
When not glued to her phone or laptop managing her clients’ brand presence in the marketplace, Kendra enjoys traveling, dining out, trying new wines, and spending time with her husband, two young daughters and their two French Bulldogs.
Beyond Payments is a payments, business management and lending solutions company founded in 2017 by Robert O. Carr, a prominent businessman and philanthropist whose track record of success reflects his deep belief that “doing the right thing” for customers and advocates ultimately produces the best bottom-line results. Carr has brought on a team of seasoned experts in the payments industry committed to building a world-class company from the ground up.
Beyond designated the non-profit Give Something Back (Give Back) a founding partner and beneficiary as Give Back is 49% majority shareholder of Beyond Payments.
Established by Carr in 2003, Give Back provides college scholarships and mentoring to students who have faced economic hardship and other challenges such as foster care or the incarceration of a parent. So far, Give Back has prepaid over 1,500 scholarships for students at partner colleges and universities across the country—an upfront investment of more than $36 million. Carr’s motivation results from his desire to secure long- term funding for the Give Something Back Foundation long after his time.
By investing in the minds and futures of smart, capable young people, Beyond is building a well- prepared workforce and contributing to a growing economy – which creates greater opportunities for their business customers as well as for Beyond. In just under two years since its beginnings, they are rapidly growing and being noticed as one of the leading US companies changing the face of business simply by operating as a for-profit business with its core mission as a force for good.
Anna Lam spent most of her childhood and young adult life in Northern California where she graduated from University of California, Davis with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She enjoyed studying political behavior but chose to pursue her strong interest in business within the eyecare industry. She became an optician licensed by the American Board of Opticianry and shortly thereafter, she was recruited by Sunglass Hut International Corporation in Coral Gables, Florida where she led buying and merchandising within their optical division. Due to her track record of success, she was invited to accept an opportunity by a prominent privately-owned landmark optical retailer in New York, New York to join their company as Director of Merchandising.
Anna quickly expanded her knowledge and experience within the multi-million dollar environment and rapidly moved upwards into various management roles ultimately culminating to Vice President of Sales. She focused on instilling a strong culture of empowerment and ownership for its employees company wide which resulted in 5 consecutive years of double digit record sales growth. Today, Anna still maintains her own retail optical consulting business serving small and medium sized retail optical offices.
Anna Moved to Arizona 7 years ago and made a conscious choice to take on a new venture. She joined the 5th largest and most respected payments company in the US, Heartland Payment Systems founded by Robert O. Carr in 1997, a deeply admired pioneer in the payments space. Anna now continues her journey with Mr. Carr and Beyond Payments, which began in 2017 shortly after his sale of Heartland Payment Systems for $4.3 billion. She is thrilled to be a Founding Member of Beyond as she is confident this company “will surpass Heartland Payment Systems in its legacy as a world class business by holding itself accountable to its values – honesty, transparency, and integrity as a for-profit business with a meaningful philanthropic focus.”
Anna also enjoys being involved in her community. She takes an active role in the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce and in the U & Improved Leadership Foundation as a Board Member. She is also an active member of the Greater Phoenix Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the Executive Association of Greater Phoenix, and Arizona Business Leadership. She recently became a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) of Arizona to contribute in helping foster kids succeed.
Anna enjoys taking time traveling, hiking, exploring new restaurants, and immersing in self- development and spiritual activities. Most of all, she loves spending time with her family and friends, especially with her two beautiful 5-year old twin daughters, Tori and Talia.
ABOUT YOUR HOST
Jodi Low is an accomplished corporate trainer, inspirational speaker, and the Founder and CEO of U & Improved. Jodi has trained thousands of entrepreneurs and executives on how to build a booming business, master a mindset for success, and achieve the lifestyle they desire through heart-fueled leadership.
Through U & Improved—an award-winning personal and professional leadership development company based in Scottsdale—Jodi has redefined traditional leadership training by creating a sustainable and actionable model that is personal, challenging and meaningful to each and every individual who enrolls in any of the two-and-a-half-day experiential training classes. She and her elite training team have advanced the charge in heart-based leadership
development and empower U & Improved graduates with knowledge, tools and awareness to immediately be more effective and responsive leaders at work, home and within their communities.
Among her many accomplishments as a Valley leader, Jodi launched a teen leadership program in 2014 to empower young adults to become more confident, motivated and focused stewards of our future. In 2016, she founded a non-profit arm of the company—the U & Improved Leadership Foundation—that makes the program more accessible to deserving teens.
Jodi has been recognized by industry publications and organizations for her work in leadership development and serves as a source of inspiration within the community. In 2015, she was honored as an “Outstanding Women in Business” by the Phoenix Business Journal and by the Phoenix Suns and National Bank of Arizona with the “Amazing Women” award. She has received both the prestigious “Diversity Leader of the Year” and the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce’s “Sterling Award.” She was also awarded a Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 and was a finalist for the Junior League of Phoenix’s Valley Impact Award. Jodi is a devoted single parent who volunteers her time at her daughters’ school programs and with organizations such as Angel Mamas, where she’s served on the board for three years.